Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Place Beyond Courage (William Marshal, #1)” as Want to Read:
A Place Beyond Courage (William Marshal, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Place Beyond Courage (William Marshal #1)

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,144 Ratings  ·  197 Reviews
Sometimes Keeping Your Honor Means Breaking Your Word

The early twelfth century is a time for ambitious men to prosper. John FitzGilbert is a man of honor and loyalty, sworn to royal service. When the old king dies, his successor rewards the handsome and ambitious John with castles and lands. But King Stephen has a tenuous hold on both his reign and his barons, and when jea
Kindle Edition, Reprint edition, 545 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published October 4th 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Place Beyond Courage, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Place Beyond Courage

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
22. Pearl Ruled (p108)

Rating: 2* of five

The Publisher Says: The early twelfth century is a time for ambitious men to prosper, and royal servant John FitzGilbert is one of them. But when the old king dies and his successor is appointed, John faces a terrible choice: he must join the rival faction-his enemies- or risk losing everything. His new wife helps him carry his burden, but his final choice will seal not only her fate, but those of his young children.

As the fight for England's crown enters
Feb 21, 2015 Misfit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: medieval fiction
Chadwick never fails to deliver! This is a prequel of sorts to The Greatest Knight, and is the story of John FitzGilbert, the father of William Marshal. The story takes place amidst the backdrop of England's civil war between Henry's daughter Matilda and her cousin Stephen who usurped her crown, as John tries to juggle his perilous position between the two rivals for the crown.

John's first marriage to Aline (the best he could make at the time in his position) does not fare well as she is weak o
Rio (Lynne)
Feb 17, 2012 Rio (Lynne) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John FitzGilbert aka William Marshal's father, was King Henry 1's Marshal. When Henry suspiciously died John had to play a fine line between his oath to Matilda and the usurper Stephen. To play this game he needed a strong wife and alliance, not his current wife Aline who wasn't born or had the stomach to be the wife of a Marshal. Words and honor had to be broken to survive. Chadwick makes you laugh, get emotional and cheer like no other author. I love how she writes about lessor known, but very ...more
Amy Bruno
A Place Beyond Courage is a novel of John FitzGilbert (John Marshal). In the year 1130 John is a royal marshal to King Henry I - young he may be, but through his courage and cunning he earned his stripes and respect and men knew not to mess with him. As royal marshal, John was the gate-keeper to the king - if you wanted to see the king, you needed to get past John first. He was also in charge of the court's living arrangements, the horses, the dogs and hawks - there was nothing John didn't have ...more
Jul 14, 2014 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well-written but essentially Emmerdale meets renaissance fair schtick.
For people more accustomed to meatier, historical fiction gristle, you're best off reading something else as this all feels considerably more trite and focused on the intimate relationship side of things than the historical machinations and battles etc.
Sarah u
I chose to read this book after thoroughly enjoying Lady of the English by the same author. This book tells a story of the same period from the point of view of the royal marshal, John Fitzgilbert, who serves Henry I, Stephen and Matilda in turn.

It is great to have discovered another historical fiction author who shows integrity and respect for the people they are writing about, I have to say. Elizabeth is careful with the facts and does not speculate wildly, the depth of her research really sho
Mar 08, 2011 Bryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a solid, action led historical romance. I'm not normally a romance reader, but I make an exception for Chadwick because she is a story teller first and foremost. As she writes stories based on history, it's not as 'safe' as some romance fiction, and certainly not as predictable. Add in a lyrical style and a great pace, convincing characters and a lot of technical skill - she's an author who deserves a much higher profile.

Set duing the Stephen and Matilda chaos (12th century UK) this stor
If you would happen to need me for anything, I can be found in the 12th Century. Thank you very much Elizabeth Chadwick. I was absolutely swept away and enamored by the first installment of the William Marshall series. A Place Beyond Courage is a novel about John FitzGilbert, William Marshall’s father. (William Marshall is the Greatest Knight and the subject of the subsequent novels in the series.) The setting is 12th Century England where the crown is up for grabs and the country is in turmoil. ...more
Feb 17, 2014 LemonLinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hfu-2014
I had high expectations for this book as it is the prequel of the William Marshall series which I loved. This son tells the story of Marshall's father, John Fitzgilbert, Marshall to two kings and an empress/want to be queen. In the beginning I was thinking it was OK but not nearly as captivating as the others in the series! but then there is an abrupt change. New characters enter the picture and the plot thickens, the characters strengthen, the story becomes more lively and I became much more in ...more
Rebecca Huston
A grand tale of the middle ages that no one has touched before now. Elizabeth Chadwick keeps getting better with each of her novels, and this one is no exception. Set during the wars of Stephen and Matilda in 12th century England, this tells the story of John Marshal, and can be considered a prequel to The Greatest Knight, but doesn't have to be read as a series. One of my favourites, and here's hoping for more from this author.

The scene in the burning church is one of the most tense and fraugh
Blodeuedd Finland
When I think of medieval fiction writers I think of Elizabeth Chadwick. She is the go to author for me and this was another great novel.

John FitzGilbert was the father of the more famous William Marshal. But this is John's book. He was King Henry II's marshal, he was young and went for what he wanted. I liked how he was portrayed, even in his darkest moments. Because in the end you can't know what he thought and felt and I felt what she wrote here was very possible.

His first wife was Aline, yeah
I always like Elizabeth Chadwick's books, in fact I imported this one from the UK because I couldn't find it in the US. Having said that though, I think this is my least favorite so far. A Place Beyond Courage is the story of John Marshall, father of William Marshall who stars in The Greatest Knight also by Elizabeth Chadwick, and is memorable for his comment about having the hammer and anvils to form more and better sons when faced with William's execution as a four year old hostage. I probably ...more
Andrea Zsigmond
Aug 26, 2009 Andrea Zsigmond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Elizabeth Chadwick is an amazing author who manages to bring her characters to life with an amazing authenticity!

This is a prequel to The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion. I have not had the opportunity to read either of these, but was able to fin APBC at my local Chapters and snatched it up!

A Place Beyond Courage is the story of John FitzGilbert marshal to Henry I, then to Stephen and finally to the Empress. The story tells of his journey through love, betrayal and his trials in life. EC br
Beth (moonivy)
Dec 23, 2007 Beth (moonivy) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction readers
Read 12/22-12/23/07.
A Place Beyond Courage tells the fascinating story of John FitzGilbert
father of the great knight and statesman William Marshal. As Marshal to
Henry I, Stephen and Empress Matilda, John Marshal fought and plotted and
scrambled to survive civil war for much of his life. A hard man in a
contentious time, Chadwick does a marvelous job of bringing the reader
inside his head and times. The romance between Marshal and his second wife
Sybilla is lovely and the pragmatic Sybilla i
Jun 29, 2009 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much what you expect from Elizabeth Chadwick these days. Consistent quality - good story-telling, and a well-researched but unobtrusive historical 'backing tape'.

This is the story of William Marshal's parents, so a prequel to The Greatest Knight.

I quite enjoy being picky with historicals and finding little faults, but to be honest there's not much scope for that here because the author knows her job too well. John Marshal's rather dull first marriage is maybe more reflective of the avera
Feb 08, 2011 Cryssa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn’t sure how I was going to like reading about John FitzGilbert, William Marshal’s father. John’s famous response to his son being given as a hostage speaks volumes of a cold, unfeeling, ruthless man- or does it? Elizabeth Chadwick reminds us that there is another side to the story and it deserves to be told. True to form, the author expertly weaves a compelling history of the man, and I found myself admiring him even more than the son (if that is possible). John FitzGilbert had to manoeuvr ...more
Aug 02, 2009 Tanzanite rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book by Elizabeth Chadwick about John FitzGilbert (Marshall to Henry I and father to William Marshall) as he walks a precarious line between loyalty and survival - a line that will force him to take a serious gamble with the life of his youngest son. John is not the cold, unfeeling man his "anvils and hammers" speech might indicate and Chadwick does a great job showing the complexity of his character and the difficult position in which he was placed. Combining just the right ba ...more
There are very few authors I can state for the record who NEVER fail me. Elizabeth Chadwick is amongst that exclusive pantheon. I truly do not know how she does it, bringing the tempestuous era of the Middle Ages to life. Every book is like a miniseries of the mind, though it has often occurred to me that the BBC would do well to turn one of her glorious novels into an actual series. Forget Game of Thrones--this is the real deal.

Though to be fair (and to showcase my incredible nerdiness), George
A Place Beyond Courage is a novel about John FitzGilbert, set during the civil war between Stephen and Maltida. Where do I begin? I loved it! This if my first book by Elizabeth Chadwick and I love her writing style, however it did take some getting used to. Her vocabulary is much more developed than mine and I admit at first I was constantly looking up the definition of words.

So in the beginning, the book moved pretty slow for me. But as soon as John was married to his second wife, the story pic
Oct 02, 2012 Angelc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I prefer the rose-tinted glasses of historical romance over historical fiction, so this book wasn't really for me. The first book that I read by this author, For the King's Favor, was such a beautiful romance, that I thought all of the author's books would read that way. However, after many more chances that I've given the author, I've found that her books are true to the historical fiction norm of gritty realism instead of soft, sweet romance. While For the King's Favor will remain on my favori ...more
Jun 12, 2012 Nisareen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A well researched beautifully written novel full of meticulous period detail. Elizabeth Chadwick brings every page to life - so much so that I felt transported there.

A Place Beyond Courage is a prequel to The Greatest Knight and focuses on John FitzGilbert, the marshall of Henry I and father of William Marshal. An ambitious man, John needs all the intelligence and resourcefulness he can muster to survive, when Henry dies without naming his heir. After Henry's nephew Stephen usurps Henry's daught
Ever since I first picked up The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick I have been entranced with the Marshal family – be it William, Mahelt, or now, John Marshal. I had heard from many other readers who had read the previously released UK version of this novel that this was a wonderful read and it certainly did not disappoint.

John Marshal is always known for the “hammers and anvil” speech that he gave to King Stephen at Newbury Castle – and this incident leads people to believe him to be a hars
Aug 26, 2012 Patty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been a fan of Ms. Chadwick's books for a long while now and jumped at the chance to read this newest release. In A Place Beyond Courage the reader meets John FitzGilbert, the father of The Greatest Knight, William Marshal. As Marshal to Henry I, John is in charge of many things including the palace whores. He is a man of fierce temperament and determined to better himself. He marries a young woman named Aline whose guardianship he owns but she is meek and unsuited to his life as a warrior ...more
Dec 15, 2013 Therese rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: medieval history fans

In the last year I have been learning a great deal about the Civil War that took place in England during the reign of King Stephen while Maud made her valid claim to the throne after King Henry died. In the background John FitzGilbert serves as King Henry's martial, and while he initially swore for Maud, he didn't want to serve a woman any more than most any other men did during that time. Still when the Empress Maud and her followers come back to England, he takes a gamble and backs her. H
Chadwick delivers another solid historical-fiction account of the period during the English Anarchy. This time she follows the life of John Marshal a strong-willed and clever supporter of the Emperess Matilda. John Marshal is best known for two rather striking historical incidents. First, in a heated battle, he retreats to a church. His enemies set it on fire and rather than be captured, John stays in the burning building and suffers the scaring loss of one eye. Second, he is known for offering ...more
Aug 24, 2012 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All I can say is Elizabeth Chadwick, I want more. She is one of my favorite authors. I have been known to buy her books of Amazon UK or ebay to get my hands on them.

This book tells the story of John Marshal, father to the famous William Marshal who has been featured in 2 books by Elizabeth Chadwick. John as the Kings Marshall has a big job. He is the one who keeps his fingers on everything the King and his staff and his followers need. And he has to provide for their needs. When the old King Hen
Jul 21, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This novel was brilliant; both well-written and incredibly interesting. I really enjoyed the William Marshall novels by Ms Chadwick and I found this prequel to his story to be just as enjoyable a read. I found John Marshall to be as intriguing a figure as his son, plus I enjoyed reading of William as a child and his experience inside Stephen's camp.
My favourite character of this novel was John's second wife, Sybilla. I feel as though Ms Chadwick used her character to cast a different light upon
Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
Originally posted at: http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.c...

It’s a time of strife, the early 12th century, and people are called upon to make decisions, and to swear loyalty to one leader or the other. The price of choosing the wrong one is everything a person holds dear.

The hero, John Fitzgilbert, is a man who knows where he stands. He’s brave beyond words, filled with honor, and irresistible as a lead man. And, he really existed. This is his story, his place in history, fictionalized in a fa
Oct 26, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite times of year is whenever there happens to be a new Elizabeth Chadwick novel. After reading her wonderful, engrossing novel, The Greatest Knight, she now ranks as one of my favorite authors. Her historical fiction has no equal. It doesn’t just state the dry history, but becomes living history. Chadwick uses creative techniques to tell the story including reenactment and akashic records.

A Place Beyond Courage is the story of the Greatest Knight’s (William Marshal’s) father, Joh
Jacinta Hoare
Set during the reign of Henry I and the subsequent civil war between the Empress Matilda and King Stephen, this book sets out the rise to fame (or infamy)and power of John FitzGilbert the King's Marshall. The story traces the difficult decisions, alliances and battles that he must make to protect his position at Court, his lands and the safety of his family.

One of my favourite all time books is Elizabeth Chadwick's The Greatest Knight so for mine, this was a must read and I was not disappointed.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 09, 2015 04:48PM  
Free Books, .99 &...: Giveaway - A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick 3 17 Oct 28, 2012 07:03PM  
  • Within the Fetterlock
  • I Am the Chosen King (The Saxon Series #2)
  • Devil's Brood  (Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, #3)
  • Hugh and Bess: A Love Story
  • Within the Hollow Crown: A Reluctant King, a Desperate Nation, and the Most Misunderstood Reign in History
  • Treason
  • I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince
  • Beloved Enemy: The Passions of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Daughter of York
  • Crown of Destiny
  • Passage to Pontefract (Plantagenet Saga, #10)
  • To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • The Crown in the Heather (The Bruce Trilogy, #1)
Best selling historical novelist Elizabeth Chadwick won a Betty Trask Award for her first novel The Wild Hunt. She has been shortlisted for the UK's mainstream Best Romantic Novel of the Year Award 4 times and longlisted twice. Her novel The Scarlet Lion about the great William Marshal and his wife Isabelle de Clare, has been selected by Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Society as one ...more
More about Elizabeth Chadwick...

Other Books in the Series

William Marshal (5 books)
  • The Greatest Knight (William Marshal, #2)
  • The Scarlet Lion (William Marshal, #3)
  • The Time of Singing (William Marshal #4) (Bigod #1)
  • To Defy a King (William Marshal #5)

Share This Book